Chile From Within

Whiteness aka “Mierdocracia” and Poblacion in Santiago, Chile

Posted in chile, Chile culture, mierda, Santiago, Viva Chile by tomasdinges on August 4, 2007

The craziest thing is that the Chilean brown, or the less white, idolizes the white of the public sphere, whereas there is a lot more, I think, “brown power” as it were, in other countries where the indigenous population maintained its identity. I wonder where the dark-skinned  Gabriel “Gato” Gaspar, former Defense Minister, stands on this issue. I wonder how Benito Juarez, a dark-skinned indigenous president of Mexico came to power and stayed there for five terms from 1858 to 1872

Chileans aspire to be white, because white is supposedly better and “richer.” Im not sure where people got this idea.

Is cuico status secretly aspired to? Not completely, because they are shunned by the not-cuicos, declares the 25 year old visiting “domestic worker” (in Chile an accountant, baker and pastry maker, taxi-cab driver) from La Granja at my house, in the middle-quality private and technical universities along Avda. Republica, for the esforzada yet not privileged students from neighborhoods like La Granja, and privileged yet lazy students. Maybe that is because they get shunned first.

I was talking to the Chilean half of a couple doing an epic film on Chilean hiphop, “4 Ramas, 4 Armas”. He is from a población originally and in the course of their interviews for the film he got to know young kids from the poblaciones around Santiago. He was one of them 20 years ago, he told me.

Yet, now, he says, their values are skewed towards consumerism, posturing and image, aspiring to the advertised images of success in Chilean society, that of Falabella, Ripley, etc…consumer items. Sorry, no brown people found there.

The población and its inhabitants, he said, has lost its values. There used to be dirt roads, no shoes and poverty, but also a community of people in solidarity. There were craftsmen, and almacenes and huertas and cerrajeros. On the 40th year of the establishment of the original “poblacion callampa,” Herminda de la Victoria  what has happened to the values of the people who founded it?

This is the”woodcutter,” from the poblacion of Huechuraba, about thirty minutes from the center of Santiago, a man who was in jail at thirty and now at 42 leads a clean life.

While there are no gangs where he lives, there are groups and some individuals who are called “domesticos”; or those who rob from the people in their own neighborhood.

Robbing from people who go out day after day, in his case in the rain, to saw wood, collect cardboard or tin cans, work as maids, or garbage collectors.

He has robbed from people in the past (I guess not the poor), he says, but if one of those “domesticos”; were to come in his house, he’d kill them.

Now, maybe, gangbangers. Will crack (a new drug to Chile, and here which is making dangerous, yet at the moment, slight inroads into poblacion) wars and homicide soon follow?

Where is the real poblacion which used to represent Chile during the heady days of the late-sixties and early seventies, and then in the protests to Pinochet in the mid-80’s? Where are the homegrown experts from poblacion on public health or transportation which famously confronted a “Comunista del Salon” of Allende’s government with a plan better and more comprehensive than that of the government. (somebody…(anybody) help me…as i can’t remember the exact details of this televised encounter)

Is credit the devil, or capitalism, or the people themselves? Who knows? Do these people talk about their experiences in the “blogosphere?” Is the toma of Penalolen the only example we have a living, breathing and advancing poblacion?

8 Responses

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  1. hernan said, on August 5, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Television plays a big role shaping the new chilean society. Mindless consumers who really want to belong to a broader middle class. We didn’t have that before , at least not in big numbers. Nowadays, having a cellphone, checking emails and watching tv on a big 27 inch screen is a dream come true. It sounds horrible, but in my opinion that is exactly what’s making our people numb.

  2. tomasdinges said, on August 6, 2007 at 3:06 pm


    So, their access to the middle class, as has been defined for them, or not lower class, or poor, as they define it, is their aspiration?

    What Tv shows do they watch?

    Class, as how much one consumes…is that it…Damn, that sucks…

    I just saw on a Sunday morning talk show, a famous one, and actually quite funny…significantly better than Tolerancia Cero..The McLaughlin Group…in which a conservative Republican, Pat Buchanan states that 2/3 of the US economy is based on consumption, not the productivity or creation of new products…

    The US has no class, just different socio-economic levels. Im not sure if Im serious or ironic with that last commentary.

  3. Ani said, on August 8, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    they like to watch the O.C.

  4. tomasdinges said, on August 9, 2007 at 12:22 am

    How do you know?

  5. Ani said, on August 9, 2007 at 12:48 am

    I know, because when I meet a buntch of Chilean teenyboopers they told me how much they loved watching shows like the O.C. They asked me if everyone in the US lives like that.

  6. Hector Salgado said, on August 22, 2007 at 12:37 am

    I’m a Chilean living in the States since 1976. I remember how Chile before was and I’m well informed as to how is Chile today.

    First of all, there is not a very big cultural difference between a poor Chilean and a poor American citizen. Consumerisms, lack of education, lack of opportunities, racism, sexism, xenophobia, are ills that affect people of different nationalities. Ignorance, as a result of lack of education, is the root to all our problems. I have seen them here and in Chile. In the case of Chile I will suggest that another main contributor to our present situation were the 17 years of the Pinochet dictatorship.

    For instance, compare the impact the 9/11/01 had in the US and the impact the 9/11/73 had in our country. The only superpower of the world, a country with 300 million people, attacked by terrorists from the Middle East, lost 3000 of their compatriots. There is no doubt the devastating effect this attack had in the American social, economical and collective psychic.

    In the other hand, Chile a country of 11 millions (1973 figures) was attacked by its own countrymen, with planes, tanks, soldiers in the most brutal way possible. Thousand of detentions camps were put together across our country. Our own government was killing, torturing and sending us to exile. According to human rights organizations figures, 200.000 Chileans were incarcerated, 1 million left Chile and thousands were killed, many are still disappeared. The collective trauma was tremendous and the Chilean psychic was forever affected. I recommend this site for more information about psychoanalysis.

    Millions of Chileans were affected and millions live in fear for many years. Fear of asking for a better salary, a better education, a better social treatment from the elites, fear of questioning authority. To make things worst, when the time came to end with the dictatorship, the opposition, the same political parties the people have trusted with leading the struggle against the dictatorship, decided to negotiate with Pinochet a transition to a democratic rule. Now we know that the transition was written, negotiated and implemented by Pinochet himself. The so call “Chilean democracy” after Pinochet had been an optical illusion Señores!!!! Pinochet left this world as a free man. And thousands of his criminals have never been accused of any crimes.

    In other words we were raped and abused for 17 years and when the time was coming to bring him to justice they let him go and we have to live with the bastard for another 17 years. Give me a freaking break…would you have accepted this in your country?

    Now, let’s take this scenario to the US and imagined Osama Bin-Laden living in New York City, after September 11th, with all the privileges and protections the state can give you. Because this is the way Pinochet live until his dead. They even wanted to give him a state funeral for crying out loud….. I don’t know about you reader but I am very proud of the Chilean people and its endurance. They have taken so much abuse…..

    Therefore, I understand the Chile of today and the fuck up situation they are in. I only hope than soon rather than later we will find the right leaders who will lead us to a better future, to a country with justice and equality for all.

  7. s. Parker said, on December 4, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Chile From Within..
    no será musho?
    -estas pegado al 70`s
    -back Home, dude.
    Here Castellano is spoken

  8. D. Sebastião II said, on January 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Long live Pinochet!!!

    If it was not for Pinochet, your fricking countriy would now be a Communist hell hole! And it would have suffered a severe “National white flight” like Cuba did, and when I mean “white flight” I mean the only ones who have worked to turn Chile into a Civilised Nation.

    Think about it (morons).

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